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Honda Clarity In Snow & Winter Driving? (Explained)

The Honda Clarity is an alternative-fuel vehicle made in both electric and hybrid variants.

Compared to other green vehicles, the Clarity is no different from a regular vehicle–it is comfortable, practical, and luxurious to drive.

In this article, we look at the Honda Clarity’s performance in snow.

Here is the short answer to whether the Honda Clarity is good for snow and winter driving:

The Clarity is safe to drive on winter roads, as it sports several safety-enhancing features such as Traction Control, Vehicle Stability Assist, and Electronic Brake Force Distribution. It also has a Road Departure Mitigation System and a low profile that improves balance on slippery surfaces. 

Is a Honda Clarity Good in the Snow?

A concern for many prospective electric/hybrid vehicles is the suitability of such vehicles in snowy weather. However, reports from real-world owners of the Honda Clarity show that such fears are mostly unfounded.

The Clarity drives in snowy terrain much like every other sedan drives. Thus, you should not worry that your Clarity may be unable to handle driving in snow.

The Clarity benefits from Honda’s advanced safety system, which reduces the hazards of driving in slippery snow. Traction Control feature prevents loss of traction in snow.

Similarly, the Vehicle Stability Assist ensures stable driving on roads covered in snow. This enhances the Clarity’s snow driving credentials significantly.

However, remember that the Clarity is a sedan, not some pickup or sport utility vehicle (SUV). Based on this, the Clarity can hardly navigate thick snow without stalling. If you want to drive in such conditions, a larger-sized vehicle will serve your needs better.

What Features Will Improve Winter Driving?

In designing the Clarity vehicle, Honda ensured it had the same features as regular, gas-powered models. As a result, the Clarity has features that improve winter driving on other Honda vehicles. These include:

Vehicle Stability Assist

The Vehicle Stability Assist provides maximum stability for your vehicle, particularly when driving in uneven terrain.

Roads in wintertime can be uneven, thanks to slush, snow, and ice. The Vehicle Stability Assist comes in handy when driving on those roads.

The VSA system has a suite of sensors that monitor your car’s motion in transit. These sensors can detect when your vehicle loses stability while driving.

In that case, the sensors will alert the VSA, which will then start a chain of actions to restore your vehicle’s stability.

The first action may be to reduce your vehicle’s speed; a slower vehicle has fewer chances of becoming unstable. Then it exerts brake pressure on wheels to prevent the vehicle from sliding off to one side.

Traction Control System

The Traction Control System protects your vehicle from loss of traction when traveling in slick-road situations. How does it work?

Like the Vehicle Stability Assist, Traction Control uses sensors to monitor wheel motion. This allows it to notice when one or more wheels start losing traction.

The Traction Control can mitigate loss of traction in two ways:

  • It can decrease the engine’s power for reduced wheel speed: Usually, your wheels will spin rapidly when they are losing traction. By reducing the power available to the wheels, Traction Control decreases wheel spin, which eliminates traction loss.
  • It can administer brake pressure to wheels in danger of slipping and losing traction: Again, by reducing the wheel’s rate of spinning, Traction Control ensures the wheels don’t slip and lose traction. Applying brakes to the wheels forces them to grip the road properly, which increases the amount of traction they have.

Road Departure Mitigation System

The Road Departure Mitigation System is by far one of the best features for winter traveling. This system stops your car from losing direction while driving.

By monitoring vehicle movement, the RDM system can tell if your sedan has left its lane or the roadway.

If your Clarity loses its way, the RDM system will activate several mechanisms to return the vehicle to its path. The first of these is one that maximizes the steering torque to steer your car back into position.

Another sends you a visual alert on your dashboard so you know that your vehicle is slipping. The last is a braking mechanism that halts your car if the loss of direction may cause a crash.

Overall, the RDM system safeguards you against vehicle slipping, which is common on winter roads. Now, you can drive in winter without fear of your car sliding off the road.

Electronic Brake Force Distribution

The Clarity’s Electronic Brake Force Distribution system enables you to brake safely on wet roadways without locking up your wheels. If your wheels lock up under braking, it can limit your car’s ability to turn with the possibility of crashing.

The EBD system curtails equal braking of the wheels. You may ask, ‘Why is this important and how does it stop wheels from locking?’

Your wheels don’t have the same performance characteristics and cannot handle brake pressure equally. For instance, the Clarity, being a front-wheel-drive model, puts more weight on front wheels than rear wheels.

With less weight comes reduced ability to handle brake pressure. If you braked all wheels equally, some, especially rear wheels, could lock up, as they cannot handle the brake pressure.

By shifting brake pressure on wheels with less weight to wheels with more weight, EBD curbs wheel lockup. With the possibility of wheel lockup eliminated, your wheels will rotate without interruption and you’ll travel safely in winter.

Antilock Braking System

The Clarity has an Antilock Braking System that guarantees safer driving in winter season. It prevents wheel lockup by modulating brake motion.

The Antilock Braking System shares similarities with the Electronic Brake Force Distribution but functions differently.

The ABS uses various on-board computers to assess wheel movement when you brake.

If a wheel is about to lock up from excessive braking, the ABS will reduce brake pressure to stop it. This way, the wheels keep rotating and wheel lockup is prevented.

Heated Cabin

The Clarity comes with a heated cabin that makes winter drives comfortable. This means you can focus on maneuvering your vehicle in snow instead of fretting about the chilly conditions.

Please also read our article on driving the Honda CVR-V in snow and winter.

Does a Clarity Have Snow Mode?

You won’t get a Snow Mode on any Clarity model. This doesn’t mean you cannot still drive in snow; the Clarity has other technologies that perform some functions of Snow Mode.

A noteworthy example is the Traction Control system that minimizes wheel slip and forestalls any loss-of-traction scenario.

Can You Install Additional Snow Gear on Clarity?

If you are interested in improving your Clarity’s traction and control in snowy road conditions, snow gear may be a wise option. You can install whatever snow gear you want on your Clarity.

However, make sure to buy snow gear that fits your vehicle.

Also, check the local transport laws for the legality of snow gear. Each state and county have different laws on acceptable snow gear within their domain.

How Much Snow Can a Clarity Handle?

The Clarity is a small vehicle that sits just 5.3 inches off the ground. It cannot drive in snow the way an SUV or truck would.

Your Clarity is more suited to driving in moderate snowfall. Deep snow may leave your Clarity immobile, which is what you’d hardly want in winter.

How Do Clarity Handle Low Winter Temperatures?

Being a fuel-injected model, the Clarity can handle driving when temperatures dip below freezing point. You need not warm it up multiple times; start it once and off you go.

Owners of the all-electric Clarity vehicles have complained about getting lower range in low winter temperatures. However, you can remedy this by doing the following:

  • Preconditioning your battery
  • Charging your battery more frequently
  • Using the Eco mode to reduce power use

If you have a big family and your area gets massive amounts of snow, please check out our article on driving the Toyota Sequoia in snow and winter.

Can a Clarity Drive on Ice?

As the Clarity remains stable on slick surfaces, you can drive it on roads covered in ice. In fact, your Clarity is better than a truck in icy conditions because it has reduced rollover risk.

This means you won’t suddenly have your car lose control and land on its side in icy conditions.

Does the Clarity Have 4WD?

Honda Clarity doesn’t have 4WD. All Clarity models come with a front-wheel drive configuration.

What About Older Clarity Models and Winter Driving?

Right from the very first model released in 2007, Honda Clarity vehicles have always had excellent winter driving abilities.

For instance, the first-ever Clarity model had Traction Control, Antilock Braking System, and Vehicle Stability Assist as standard features.

Do Clarity Need Snow Tires?

Buying snow tires is the first thing to do when preparing your Clarity vehicle for winter season. Compared to all-season tires, snow tires can provide incredible traction and control on winter roads.

Make sure to also read our article on driving the Honda Accord in snow and winter.

Can You Mount A Snow Plow on A Clarity?

Snowplows are for bigger-sized vehicles with powerful engines. Your Clarity isn’t part of this category and shouldn’t be used for snow plowing.

Unless damaging your car is on your to-do list, don’t mount a snowplow on your Clarity.

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